How to Prevent Accidental 911 Calls on iPhone


Worried about calling the emergency services by accident? You can prevent accidental 911 calls on an iPhone pretty easily. Here’s how.

We’ve all called someone without meaning to—it’s pretty easy to do if your phone is unlocked. Unfortunately, it’s a bit more serious if you accidentally ring 911 (or the emergency services number in your country).

If you dial 911 without realizing it, you may trigger an emergency response, as silent calls are usually treated as a sign of distress. If you want to stop these, you’ll need to prevent accidental 911 calls on your iPhone. Here’s what you’ll need to do.

What is Emergency SOS on iPhone?

iPhone has a built-in feature called Emergency SOS that you can use in an emergency to dial 911 if it’s difficult to talk. Unfortunately, it’s also easy to trigger these calls by accident.

You can activate Emergency SOS on iPhone in three different ways. These include:

  • Pressing and holding the side and volume buttons
  • Quickly pressing the side power button five times
  • Sliding the Emergency SOS slider at the bottom of the power-off confirmation screen

Emergency SOS slider iPhone

Unfortunately, the first two options offer relatively simple ways to trigger an emergency 911 call. You’ll need to prevent these to reduce the likelihood of a silent emergency call.

How to Prevent Accidental 911 Calls on iPhone

If you’re worried about activating the Emergency SOS feature by accident, you can disable it by side, volume, or power button presses in your iPhone settings menu.

  1. To do this, open the Settings app on your iPhone.

Prevent Accidental 911 Calls on iPhone

  1. Next, scroll down and tap Emergency SOS from the menu.

Prevent Accidental 911 Calls on iPhone

  1. In the Emergency SOS section, toggle both the Call with Hold and Call with 5 Presses settings to the Off position.

prevent accidental 911 calls on iPhone

With these settings disabled, you’ll only be able to activate the Emergency SOS feature via your power off menu or by dialing 911 manually.

If you’re still running an older version of iOS, your Emergency SOS settings will appear differently. For example, Call with Side Button is the same as Call with 5 Presses, while Auto Call is the same as Call with Hold.

How to Use Airplane Mode on iPhone

Another way to prevent accidental 911 calls on your iPhone is to enable Airplane Mode when you’re on the move. This stops any outgoing calls. If you want to, you can enable Wi-Fi to allow some messages to still reach you.

To enable Airplane Mode on iPhone:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.

Prevent Accidental 911 Calls on iPhone

  1. In Settings, locate the Airplane Mode option from the list, then tap the slider to place it in the On position.

Airplane Mode iPhone

  1. When you enable Airplane Mode, it turns off Wi-Fi, but you can simply turn Wi-Fi back on and connect to a network. To do this, Tap Wi-Fi from the Settings menu and toggle its button to the On position.

Turn on Wi-Fi in Airplane Mode iPhone

If you switch your WiFi radio on, don’t panic—Airplane Mode will stay on. You can access the internet, but no outgoing calls are allowed. If you do need to make an emergency call at some point, you’ll need to turn Airplane Mode off first.

Using Your iPhone in an Emergency

Most iPhone users find that Emergency SOS is a lifesaver. If you’ve activated it too many times, however, you might want to disable some of its functionality. You can do that by following the steps we’ve outlined above.

It remains an active feature, however. If you need to use it in a crisis, hold the power button and one of the volume buttons down, then slide the Emergency SOS slider at the bottom. It might take a second or two longer, but you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’re doing your best to prevent accidental 911 calls on your iPhone.

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